FIFA to reveal World Cup final venue

The tournament is being co-hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico

AFP February 02, 2024


FIFA will announce which city will host the final of the 2026 World Cup when they unveil schedule details for the first ever 48-team tournament on Sunday.

The tournament is being co-hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico and FIFA will also announce which venue will host the opening game of the tournament.

Dallas has been reported to be favourite to clinch the big game, which will be held on July 19 with several media reports suggesting that AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys NFL team is set to win the honour.

But MetLife Stadium, home of the NFL's New York Giants and New York Jets has also lobbied hard for the right to hold the game's biggest match in New Jersey.

Los Angeles is also in the frame -- the city had the World Cup final the last time that the tournament was held in the USA in 1994 when Brazil beat Italy on penalties after a goalless draw at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

The Rose Bowl is not a host venue for the 2026 tournament with games in Los Angeles scheduled for SoFi Stadium, another NFL stadium, where the Rams and Chargers both play and also a contender for hosting the final.

FIFA has had difficult talks with the SoFi Stadium owners about changes they want to see to the venue for 2026 which has raised questions of their chances of holding the final.

Both Dallas and Los Angeles can offer stadiums with roofs to protect from any stormy weather but New York/New Jersey organisers have emphasised their city's track record in hosting major international events.

New York has also emphasised its easy transportation links within the region and internationally, along with a time-zone which is best suited for European fans.

Dallas is only one hour different from New York in time-zone but their bid has also argued that the roof on their 80,000 venue in Arlington can better reduce the impact of the summer heat.

While Dallas is seen as less of a glamourous and 'global' city than both L.A. and New York, it's backers have stressed it enjoys close connections to co-hosts Mexico.

FIFA has never organised a World Cup final in an 'indoor' venue.

While the three US venues have competed for the right to host the final, the recently redeveloped Azteca Stadium in Mexico City has long been viewed as the most likely host for the first game and opening ceremony.

The Azteca, the spiritual home of Mexican football, has hosted World Cup finals in 1970 and 1986 and it will become the first stadium to host games in three seperate World Cups.

The decisions will be announced in a television show broadcast in North America from Miami with FIFA president Gianni Infantino making the announcements.

The expansion of the tournament to 48 teams from 32 means there will be an additional 24 matches making up a total of 104 games across the 16 already chosen venues.

The tournament will take the format of 12 groups of four teams with the top two going through along with the eight best third-placed teams.

From then on the competition is a straight knock-out format with the finalists having to play eight games rather than the previous seven.

FIFA will also announce which games will be distributed to which venues, although specific match-ups won't be known until the draw for the tournament after the qualification process has been completed.

The 16 host cities for the tournament are: Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Guadalajara, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Miami, Monterrey, New York New Jersey, Philadelphia, San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, Toronto and Vancouver.


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